Morita, S. (1921). Theory of nervosity and neurasthenia. Tokyo: Nibon Seish-iningskuki.

MORREALL'S THEORY OF HUMOR/ LAUGHTER. The American philosopher/ teacher John Morreall (1982, 1983, 1987) initially examines laughter by considering the three traditional theories of laughter (i.e., superiority, incongruity/inconsistency, and relief/tension-relief) in great length/detail, and then attempts to construct a novel, comprehensive theory based on the older approaches. Morreall suggests that three general features of laughter situations should form the basis of any new comprehensive theory: the change of psychological state that the laughter undergoes; the suddenness of psychological shifts and changes in laughter; and the pleasantness of psychological shifts in laughter episodes. By combining the three features together into a general "formula" statement for characterizing laughter situations, Morreall contends that laughter results from a "pleasant psychological shift or sudden change." According to Morreall's approach, when we react to incongruity with emotions such as anger or fear (or in cases when we try to make sense out of incongruity), it disturbs us and we feel uneasy about it. Such uneasiness partially comes from a feeling of loss of control, and acts as a motivator to regain control by doing something. In the case of a negative emotion, the person attempts to change the incongruous situation, whereas in the case of "reality assimilation" (that is, "puzzlement at the strange"), the person attempts to change his/her understanding of it. Morreall argues that amusement contrasts sharply with both negative emotion and reality assimilation: when amused, one is not disturbed by incongruity, is not motivated to change the incongruous situation in any way, and does not feel a loss of control. Morreall (1987) provides accounts of other contemporary theories of laughter and humor, viz, theories by Michael Clark (theories of humor are distinguished from theories of laughter; develops the notion of the "formal object" of amusement in a new version of the incongru ity theory); Roger Scruton (discusses a "pattern of thought" that is characteristic of amusement and which consists of the enjoyable devaluing and demolition of something human); and Mike W. Martin (challenges two common perspectives about humor: that amusement is the enjoyment of incongruity, and that amusement is a type of aesthetic experience; suggests that the enjoyment of incongruity for its own sake is a necessary - but not a sufficient - condition for amusement). See also HUMOR, THEORIES OF; INCONGRUITY/INCONSISTENCY THEORIES OF HUMOR; RELIEF/TENSION-RELIEF THEORIES OF HUMOR; SUPERIORITY THEORIES OF HUMOR.

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